Thala, Thalapathy, Kullan and more

I was planning on a different article but I just wanted to get this off my mind. With plenty of time at hand, courtesy of senti sem, and a without mid-week fixtures this time, I decided to kick start a Tamil movie spree. It had been a long time since I last saw a Tamil flick. Enthiran was the last one. I had actually missed many of the good movies released since August 2008. It might sound ridiculous but I was a bit apprehensive before starting the first in line. What if I don’t like it? I was in desperately in need for some good laptop entertainment. Series were not the same after Game of Thrones. Family Guy was still giving the laughs but everything runs its course. If I didn’t like the first movie, I would not even bother to watch the rest in the line-up. That too with holidays coming up, if I am not exactly in the mood for Kollywood fare, it might turn into another boring stretch of holidays.

So after a lot of deliberation, I chose Mankatha to inaugurate the spree. Turned out to be a good choice that. Mankatha, as we all know is Thala’s 50th film. I am happy that Ajith chose such a role, even when things weren’t exactly going his way. With a script that is unconventional in Tamil cinema, Venkat Prabhu manages to pack sufficient punch in the movie to please Thala fans and film fans alike (yes, the two are different sets. Some might go to the extent to call them exclusive sets). The ending sucks though. Would have loved to see Ajith’s character die; but then I would have said “What the hell! The movie ended just the way I predicted!”. So yeah, the ending would have sucked either way. Premji is irritating in his initial scenes but gradually grows into the comedy character he is supposed to be.

What is with this new fad of choreographing a fight scene to an old and slow melody? After Aaranya Kandam and Shaitan, this movie too employs the technique. The execution is perfect but just that in such a short span of time, 3 flicks have employed it. Becomes kind of hackneyed. Venkat Prabhu is a great storyteller. He manages to keep the movie moving at an incredible pace. The screenplay is very good and shines in the scene when Ajith’s character describes his plan to kill the rest of the gumbal and escape with the money. The theme music is a big plus and so is its usage. The traditional young macho hero is replaced by an ageing guy with a slight paunch. Even with some lame distractions like all officers in Mumbai police speaking Tamil, a very poor Shikari Shambu joke and character’s calling each other “Thala” and “Action King”, Ajith’s acting keeps the viewer glued. The plot seems to be inspired –no, not copied – from Guy Ritchie flicks which have scores of characters and there is always so much commotion. The actor who played ‘Mahath’ was probably the kamzor kadi. Overall, the movie was thoroughly enjoyable, and in my opinion should encourage more actors to try characters with a negative shade too. Oh, did I mention that Arjun acted in the movie? Yea, that’s all his role is worth though – a last line mention.

With the first film dealt with, I picked the latest Diwali releases – Velayudham and 7aam Arivu. From the former, I had no hopes because firstly it was a Vijay film. Not that I am a Vijay hater – in fact, I liked Vijay when he made Madurai and Ghilli. But his later movies were disappointing and judging by the trailer, Velayudham (Velu) was no different. Secondly, the borrowed Assassins Creed protagonist was a huge let down. Lastly, the reviews were unanimously poor except for the die-hard fans. 7aam Arivu… I was expecting a good entertainer like Ghajini. The story was a novel one, one that could be moulded into a brilliant product with minimal effort.  Also, it being a Surya movie, I was hoping the film would make more sense than Velu. I was hoping – not confident- after Singam.

I do not want to sincerely review both the movies here. Just want to point out a few things. After watching the two movies, I realized there is actually no point in comparing the two films. All the talk of Thalapathy kicking Kullan Surya’s ass in the box office among Diwali releases made no sense. Let me tell you why. Each movie delivers when watched the way each demands. I know it is quite lame that a film requires the moviegoer to get into a certain frame of mind before watching. But then neither of these movies will make sense otherwise – Velu certainly would not. Velu must be watched purely from the fan’s perspective. Vijay does not want to revolutionize cinema or increase his fan base. So, naturally, his films are made to satisfy his fans and that it does very well. The film has enough content for the fans to whistle and create havoc in the halls. There are some funny moments too like when the politician tells the terrorist, “I am probably the worshtu fellow you can find in the whole of Tamil Nadu. You made a smart choice by choosing me”. Every time the villains say “Naan yaaru-nu theriyumla” instead of just beating up the hero. Oh wait, that will provoke the hero and reduce their already minimal screen time no? The best moment comes when the following conversation takes place:

7aam Arivu (did you know the name was modified to 7aam from 7am because some people felt the movie was about Rebecca Black? You know 7 am waking up in the morning.. gotta be fresh gotta go downstairs? Ok. Sorry. But yes it was changed from 7am because some people read it as 7 A.M. Arivu) should be seen in the company of film lovers. Without someone to talk to, the movie would be a drag. Even for a Tamil sci-fi flick, the CG is terrible. Nevertheless, it is a sincere attempt at telling a science fiction story whereas Velu is just a joke. Also, as Gokul put it, the film was more like Seeman’s product – Tamizh (not Tamil), Tamizh and only Tamizh. The other guy does not have to belittle Tamil and then the hero/heroine has to render a lengthy dialogue elaborating the virtues of Tamil. I mean there are subtler ways to promote Tamil than by insulting another insulting and transforming an issue into a war between cultures. What I learnt from the film was that even in the distant past, Indians gained more recognition abroad than in our homeland, that brain drain existed even then and that even in the past, foreign destinations provided better opportunities to demonstrate our skills. That’s pretty much it. One area where 7aam Arivu definitely scores over Velu is the choice of heroines. In most Vijay films, the heroine is just eye candy. In 7th sense, the actress, most importantly, dubs for herself. The character portrays emotions better and moves the story forward as opposed to being a deterrent. In both Velu and this actress is a catalyst. I am not taking anything away from the story but just that it was a little odd. She convinces the hero to take on some role.

Vijay’s films have some cheap gimmicks, often pranks on the female protagonist to establish his superiority and spark a cold war that develops into louv-u finally. There are “Vijay movie generators” available online. But actually Dhanush is no different. Almost all his movies have the same basic setting. A misfit, jobless son, played by Dhanush himself. He has Daddy issues. Falls in love with a girl. Girl says no. Then gives a dialogue, “Enna?? Ithana naala pinnadi naayi madhiri sutthumpothu therla unakku naan unna love pannaren-nu?? Appolam vittutu ippo vandhu mudiyadhu nu sollare?”. Girl feeds bad for acting like a bitch, starts louv-ing him. Something tragic happens to family/Daddy. Misfit realizes how much he likes them. Life changes. Somewhere in the middle there is a bad guy. Final fight and then Flawless Victory.

So after these two flicks, I chose Saroja, Chinna Gounder and Goa. Chinna Gounder was just for fun. I had heard a lot about the comedy in this particular movie and Vijaykanth’s ‘brilliant’ acting. The other two were so-so. I am eagerly awaiting CS Amudhan’s second film titled CS Amudhan-in Rendavuthu Padam. Do suggest some more good movies to watch.


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